Xanthorrhoea spines are a familiar sight in Australia and still occasionally get called “black boys”.
Now before you jump all over me, and say that’s racist and other nasty things, let me explain how that name came about.
Because it’s actually quite complimentary!
When I was much younger, my Dad’s Mum, Nana (Ivy) Nancarrow, told me the original reason is to acknowledge the habit of the aboriginals themselves.
They have the habit of standing motionless on one leg for hours, and that is why the grass tree, or Balga, (now formally called “Xanthorrhoea”) has the name “black boy”.
Why did the aboriginals do that?
Because when they stood like that, in the bush, they were very difficult to detect. It was a perfect hunting strategy in the South West, where grass trees were prolific, for spearing kangaroos.
So, you see, it wasn’t the other way around! What a surprise!! Personally, I think it was probably easier to spell!
Of course, that hunting strategy wasn’t restricted only to [Read more…] about Why did we call Xanthorrhoea “Black Boys”?